|INTRO | REVIEW BY SPORT | GALLERY | VOTE | LEGENDS REMEMBERED | 2002 CALENDAR|
By Oliver Brett
Sir Donald Bradman’s death in February was always likely to overshadow the remainder of the cricketing year.
And so it proved. In a sport that devours statistics, his batting average of 99.94 will probably never be bettered.
When, later in the year, Sir Don’s World XI was revealed, it included seven Australians.
Australia started the year as the dominant force in cricket. And when they set off for a tour of India, it was time for Steve Waugh to reinforce the point.
The Aussies cantered to victory in the first Test of three – for a world record run of 16 straight wins - and then had India following on in Calcutta.
However, in one of the most extraordinary comebacks ever, VVS Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) put on 376 for the fifth wicket before Harbhajan Singh bowled India to victory.
And it was Harbhajan who again broke Australian hearts in the series decider at Madras.
So when the Aussies arrived in England for the Ashes, there was real hope that Nasser Hussain’s men could do what every England captain since Mike Gatting had failed to do – win the Ashes.
Alas, it was not to be, as Waugh’s team went for the jugular and won the series 4-1.
Off the pitch, the match-fixing saga that had dominated 2000 thankfully played less of a part. There was, however, time for Hansie Cronje to appeal against his life ban, which he lost.
But cricket reached another crisis after India and South Africa played an unofficial Test in November, with both teams “dropping” match referee Mike Denness.
Scotsman Denness had disciplined six Indians, including Sachin Tendulkar, during a Test in Port Elizabeth, and Indians reacted by burning effigies of the referee in the streets of Delhi.